The Renault F1 Team: Its Failures and Triumphs

By: Zeke Gervis

The Renault F1 Team has not been very lucky with the Canadian Grand Prix and this extends to the Montreal Circuit Gilles Villeneuve where the team has never had any success. Since the year 1978, the company has recorded four wins, twelve podiums and six pole positions. Montreal is also the only circuit where a Renault has ever competed in the Canadian Grand Prix although in the year 1977 the event was held at Mosport, where Jean-Pierre Jabouille unfortunately failed to qualify the RS01 which would have been its fifth Grand Prix.

Renault and the Canadian Grand Prix
Renault turbo power has raced in Montreal from 1978 to 1986 but it was only in 1985 that the French manufacturer's race car was able to obtain a pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. And they achieve this in style with a Lotus-Renault front row for Elio de Angelis on pole and Ayrton Senna alongside. Despite what the team has achieved still the race has proven to be a disappointment for the team with De Angelis managing only P5 as compared to Ferrari that took a one-two.

Throughout the racing career of the Renault turbo the best result that it has gotten was a P2 finish by Eddie Cheever in 1983, it was also the time when teammate Alain Prost was fighting for the world championship in which he has only manage a P5. After the being unlucky at the Grand-Prix, both Renaults have retired while running second and third having qualified in the same positions.

Then came the V10 era, which has changed everything for the Renault team their first win came in Montreal heading a Williams-Renault one-two with Belgian Thierry Boutsen leading home Riccardo Patrese in 1989. Another victory for Renault the maker of was obtained in 1991 until Nigel Mansell retired on the final lap fortunately Alain Prost set the record straight in 1993 with the 45th win for a Renault engine.

Then in 1995, an all-Renault front row saw Michael Schumacher's Benetton take Renault's 100th pole position ahead of Damon Hill. The following year, an all-Renault front row of Hill and Villeneuve was transformed into a Renault one-two-three with Hill, Villeneuve, and Alesi on the podium.

Unfortunately by the year 2002 it seems like the ill-fortune of the team have returned despite the fact that the Renault cars have performed well on the stop-start Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Fernando Alonso has set the fastest lap in 2003 but unfortunately he finished a place away from the podium.

2004 came, the cars looked strong and ready but it seems like bad luck is on the team's side again that both cars retired with driveshaft failures. Then the following year, 2005, Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso have both decided to retire while still leading the race and it wasn't until 2006 that Fernando Alonso took a Renault to victory that is after the team's cars locked out the front row. It was the 32nd win for the Renault chassis and the 122nd win for the Renault engine in Formula 1.

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